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Our Northwestern Transition Team Wins Q2 Project Team Excellence Award

Posted Date: 3 Dec 2020

Effective Date: 3 Dec 2020

At its recent Extended Staff Meeting, Northwestern IT recognized a team of 14 individuals for their impactful work on the Our Northwestern Transition Team. Scoring high in several categories, including Impact, Savings, and Flexibility, the team took home the FY20 Q2 Project Team Excellence Award (PTEA).

headshots of ptea winnersA critical service, Our Northwestern is the University’s information hub for alumni and a central point of engagement that keeps Wildcats of all eras connected from anywhere in the world. The web portal serves as the primary access point for alumni networking and fundraising and news about the Northwestern community. In the summer of 2019, Northwestern IT learned that Our Northwestern’s vendor—Uprising Technologies—was going out of business. Knowing a significant amount of existing custom code needed to be refactored to maintain the platform with the new primary vendor—iModules—and with fewer than seven months from start to finish, the project team learned and employed new technologies, coordinated plans with numerous key stakeholders, and ensured a new platform was in place before the spring 2020 giving season.

To keep Our Northwestern’s 62,000 users connected to the University community, the project team knew executing the transition and reformatting the platform needed to be near flawless to protect the University’s reputation, maintain continuity in alumni engagement, and ensure there was no negative impact to individual giving through the portal. After reviewing the project, the committee determined the team precisely executed and delivered on its goals, earning a weighted score of 8.07 out of 10.

Collaboration and teamwork were also significant factors in the PTEA committee’s review. The committee cited the importance of the project team successfully involving multiple process owners during the transition, including main functionality areas like Alumni Directory, Alumni Profile, Identity Provider login (IDP), and User Management functionality. Adding to the project’s complexity, the Kellogg School of Management was required to move two of their vendors (Grad Leaders and MBA Focus) to the new IDP set up as part of this transition effort.

The project team displayed a unified effort to overcome unexpected hurdles and pressure to complete the project on time while remaining flexible and prioritizing clear and frequent communication. The committee was also impressed with the team’s commitment to ensure Our Northwestern’s effective integration with social media platforms and the security protocols incorporated into those integrations. 

Congratulations to the project team!

Project Manager: Priya Krishnamurthy

Project Sponsor: Heather Ruggio

Team Members: Karl Kooistra, Jessica Fiore, Shabareen Khan, Chris Fowler, Joe Costanza Natelle Ziegler, Jason Miller, Brent Billows, Kyle Barnick, Ivette Torres, Lester Greenman, and Farhan Hasan

To learn more about the Project Team Excellence Award, including how to nominate a project team, visit Inside IT’s Staff Recognition page.




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